Spring is certainly here and the share and farm store are filled with beautiful bouquets of spring greens! One of the more eccentric greens available right now is raab. Raab is actually the flowering crops of overwintered broccoli and kale. When the sun starts shining and weather begins warming again, the stalks lengthen and the leaves change shape and become more tender. They are most flavorful before the florets actually flower and are so delicious braised, sauteed, stir fried, grilled, or raw in hearty salads.
The following recipe has been a favorite way for us to use all the broccoli and kale raab we've been harvesting from the fields this week.
Spaghetti with Raab, Toasted Garlic, and Bread Crumbs
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, more as needed
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and slivered
1 cup bread crumbs, preferably homemade
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
About 1 pound rabe, trimmed and washed
1 pound spaghetti, linguine or other long pasta
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. When oil is warm, cook garlic just until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add bread crumbs and red pepper flakes and cook until bread crumbs are golden, 5 minutes or so. Remove and set aside.
2. Cook broccoli rabe in boiling water until it is soft, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain well and chop. Cook pasta in same pot.
3. Meanwhile, add remaining oil to skillet over medium-low heat. Add broccoli rabe and toss well; sprinkle with salt and pepper. When it is warm add garlic and bread crumbs and mix well.
4. When pasta is done, drain it, reserving a little cooking water. Toss pasta in skillet with broccoli rabe mixture, moistening with a little reserved water if necessary. Adjust seasonings and serve with freshly grated Parmesan.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.